US, Canada strike deal on illegal migration during Biden trip


Published:
2023-03-26 00:53:39 BdST

Update:
2024-05-18 13:27:19 BdST

Published: 2023-03-26 00:53:39 BdST

 

Live Correspondent: The US President Joe Biden laid out a vision of world-leading US-Canadian economic cooperation in a speech to Canada's parliament Friday, and announced that the giant neighbors had reached a deal on curbing illegal migration.

Standing ovations by Canadian lawmakers punctuated Biden's roughly half-hour speech in Ottawa that was thick on praise for North American unity -- a sentiment matched earlier when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered his own address.

"Americans and Canadians are two peoples, two countries, in my view sharing one heart," Biden said, getting cheers when he vowed Canada will "always be able to count on the United States."

Biden signalled a resolution to one irritant in the close relationship, with a deal on managing the growing issue of undocumented migration on their lengthy border.

"The United States and Canada will work together to discourage unlawful border crossings," he said. The arrangement will see undocumented asylum seekers crossing from the United States into Canada turned back, while Canada will simultaneously expand the pathway for legal entries.

The plan -- similar to a crackdown on the much more heavily used US-Mexican border -- has been criticized by migrants' rights activists. However, Biden and Trudeau are both under political pressure to relieve their badly strained immigration systems and Biden said that regardless, "welcoming refugees and asylum seekers is a part of who Canadians and Americans are."

The deal will have "devastating impacts on refugee claimants who are already at extreme risk," Amnesty International's Julia Sande told AFP. "It will push people to more dangerous crossings in either remote areas or relying on smugglers."

Biden opened his speech with a nod to Canadian bilingualism, greeting parliamentarians with "good afternoon" and "bonjour" -- joking that this was as far as he'd got in four years of French at school.

And the bonhomie flowed from then on.

Biden laid out a vision of the neighbors being ever more closely bound with the joint goal of building high-tech economies and reinforcing supply chains for things like semiconductors and critical minerals used in electric vehicle manufacturing, saying: "We're going to write the future together."

Trudeau earlier greeted Biden at the parliament building, saying Canada has "no greater friend and ally than the United States" -- a message underlined through the gift to Biden of a chocolate bar from Peace by Chocolate, a brand started by Syrian refugees.
 
Dhaka, 25 March (campuslive24.com)//BSC
 

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